The last time we checked in on GiveDirectly they’d published a report outlining the amazing results they’d recently registered from their latest trial project.
The full report detailed, amongst other things, that a pound given freely, without condition, to someone in absolute poverty generated a 28% annual rate of return. Restated, that means that every two years your donation doubles in value. It’s not Wonga levels of accumulation, but it’s pretty good.
Today I found out that GiveDirectly had successfully expanded into Uganda. Up until now they’ve only operated in Kenya which is an anglophone country with a reasonably centralised state. Uganda has many more languages and its government is more decentralised. If GiveDirectly is going to be successful it is going to have to change the way it works to operate in the myriad different circumstances in which the absolutely poor live.
Instead of another stats dump you can listen to the field workers directly explaining their initial scepticism and current enthusiasm for the programme. Enjoy!
“The first time I heard about GiveDirectly, I couldn’t believe [an NGO could] just come in and give free money…and I thought people were going to waste it….” in this video, GiveDirectly Uganda field officers Rosemary Apolot and Charles Omoding share their initial skepticism about giving cash to the poor, and explain how their experiences with GiveDirectly recipients changed their thinking.